Resulting from public pressure, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has plans to start testing samples of U.S. food for the presence of a weed killer that has now been linked to cancer. After examining honey samples from various U.S. locations, the FDA has found that residues of the weed killer known as glyphosate can be found even in foods that are not produced via the use of glyphosate. Some of the honey samples showed residue levels doubling the limit allowed by the European Union, which in itself speaks the seriousness of the issue.
There is currently no legal tolerance level for glyphosate in U.S. honey. As a key ingredient in Monsanto Co.’s Roundup herbicide, glyphosate is the most widely used weed killer in the world. And yet, in 2015, the World Health Organization said its cancer experts had determined glyphosate to be a human carcinogen. Records from the FDA, EPA, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture describe at length the range of revelations regarding the federal government’s efforts to get a handle on these worrying and potentially deadly concerns. There is even strong evidence to support glyphosate found in soybean and wheat, showing there is currently “a lot of violation for glyphosate” residues in U.S. crops.
Independent researchers started conducting their own testing last year and found glyphosate in food products that included flour, cereal, and oatmeal, though the USDA and Monsanto have stated that any glyphosate residues in food are minimal. However, critics remain skeptical of this and say that even small amounts of this substance can be harmful.
In records released by FDA, it was stated that the agency could not find honey samples that did not contain glyphosate. Further record indicates that samples tested by FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem showed residue levels at 107 ppb associated with a Louisiana-based honey company. Chamkasem let other FDA scientists know that the EU tolerance level is 50 ppb and that no amount of glyphosate is allowed in U.S. honey, to which chemist FDA chemist Chris Sack stated, “The bee farmers are not breaking any laws; rather glyphosate is being introduced by the bees. While the presence of glyphosate in honey is technically a violation, it is not a safety issue.”
The EPA has stated said there are no pending requests to set tolerance levels for glyphosate in honey. Beekeepers have stated they are innocent victims in these cases of contaminated honey, given their apiaries are often within a few miles of where glyphosate is used. According to the USDA, the organization plans to start testing regularly for glyphosate in 2017.